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SMM Analysis: Review on China's 2017 aluminium exports


China exported 4.35 million mt of unwrought aluminium and aluminium products in the first 11 months of this year, up 3.7% from the same period last year. SMM expects to see a decent volume in December considering the SHFE - LME spread and the production cycle of the light metal.

Exports of aluminium rods and sections reached 691,000 mt from January to October, down 30.1% year on year. SMM believed this is mainly due to the reduced exports from one major domestic aluminium section producer following anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties some overseas countries imposed. This was also reflected in the proportion of aluminium section exports to Vietnam, which slumped to just 8.6% this year from 42.1% last year.

However, the month-on-month movement of section exports was rather steady due to its higher processing charges than those for ordinary alloy plates. We believe the fluctuations of SHFE - LME spread has little impact on section exports.

Exports of aluminium sheets and strips amounted to 1.71 million mt from January to October, up 24.2% on a yearly basis. Net export volumes were also up to a historic high at 1.5 million mt. While the US launched an anti-dumping investigation into Chinese aluminium alloy plates, SHFE - LME spread has more say over the export volumes.

On aluminium foil, Chinese exports stood at 974,000 mt for the first 10 months of this year, up 8.5% year on year. The growth was slower because India and the US have launched anti-dumping investigations against Chinese exports. A total of 99,143 mt, 119,135 mt and 137,582 mt of aluminium foil were involved in such cases for 2014, 2015 and 2016 respectively.

2018 Forecast

SMM believes China’s exports of unwrought aluminium and aluminium products in 2018 are likely to grow at a slightly faster pace at 5-6%. This is due to a recovering economy in Europe and an expanding market in Asia and Africa for aluminium sheets and strips. In addition, the aluminium prices are likely to remain weaker in the domestic market next year.

Source: SMM